Parkersburg Big Reds Girls Basketball: Current News: PHS Big Reds face Buckhannon-Upshur tonight for AAA Title
PHS Big Reds face Buckhannon-Upshur tonight for AAA Title
CHARLESTON — Even J.J. Abrams couldn’t have thought up a better storyline if he had been in attendance for the final Class AAA girls’ basketball state semifinal at 9 p.m. Friday inside the Charleston Civic Center.
Mega rivals Parkersburg High and Parkersburg South clashed for a date with Buckhannon-Upshur in today’s state title game at 7:15 p.m.
Fan bases from both schools made the 1:15 trek for the biggest meeting in the 42-year history between the programs of the two schools.
PHS chuckled the final laugh in a season series where four games were played for the first time ever in a campaign. Scott Cozzens’ team captured a close fought 63-61 win to even the season series at two games and earn a very desired rematch with the Buccaneers.
B-U is the team who handed them their worst loss of the season, 65-38, at the IOGA Tournament inside Glenville State College’s Waco Center back on Dec. 16.
“I will remember it,” said Cozzens of the B-U game. “It was the perfect game at the perfect time for this team. It exposed some weaknesses that we were able to correct moving forward. Everybody in the state must have got that film because everybody we played after that played us with the same defense. The kids came back and learned from it. We tried to challenge ourselves all year and if we win we win, we lose we lose.”
Unlike its quarterfinal matchup against Martinsburg, Parkersburg had a fight on its hands late in the game. Parkersburg South made a 12-3 push to extend its season, which gained strength after a Charity Anderson 3-ball pulled South within four at 55-51 with 5:02 left in the game.
A triple by Allie Taylor then put the blue and white with a touch of red down by two before Devin Hefner knotted things at 56-all with 4:07 left to play. South finally grabbed the lead on a foul shot make from Makenna Winans, which Taylor extended with a jumper with 2:34 remaining for one of the two team’s seasons.
However, South wouldn’t score again until Winans converted on a jumper with 2 seconds left on the clock. Meanwhile, PHS pulled back ahead on a Shay-Lee Kirby layup at the 1:03 mark. A tough defense seemed poised to close out the victory after a Cozzens timeout with .7 seconds left.
In order to avoid South getting an easy steal and bucket after Winans’ make, PHS threw the inbound pass halfway down the court to an awaiting Kirby. But the toss went over the junior’s head and gave South one last chance to win the game.
“Yeah, I said ‘Oh no,'” said Kirby of when the ball sailed over her head. “I saw time went off the clock and then they put more time on the clock and we said ‘More time to go out and play.'”
Winans was unable to get a shot off in the closing .7 seconds and PHS stormed the court in celebration.
The loss set Parkersburg South’s final record at 21-4 and snapped a 12-game winning streak for the Patriots, but Ed Davis wasn’t mad with the final outcome because his team gave it everything they had in the state semifinals.
Parkersburg, which was led by Madi Mace’s 20 points and Kirby’s 19, meanwhile improved to 21-6 on the season. One final win would give the program the first state title since a 64-63 win over Huntington East in the 1996 title game. It would be the sixth title in the history of the school.
Big Red Aleea Crites pitched in a dozen counters.
Hefner led the Patriots with 20 points. Winans scored 13 and Taylor had a dozen.